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Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi dies aged 85

Iwata's predecessor transformed card company into global giant

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo and the predecessor to Satoru Iwata has died today aged 85, the Nikkei reports.

Yamauchi took over the presidency of the company in 1949 from his dying grandfather. He immediately began the campaign of far-reaching and, at times, authoritarian reform which metamorphosed Nintendo from a small playing card producer into a world-wide entertainment giant. Yamauchi retained the presidency until May 31, 2002 when he ceded the position to Iwata.

Utilising the talents of luminaries such as Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamotu, Yamauchi moved Nintendo first into the market of electronic toys before embarking upon the Game and Watch project which would pave the road towards the company's future.

Having cornered a market in Japan, Yamauchi soon expanded to America, exploiting a growing market which had little domestic input. Before long he had overseen the manufacture of the first Famicom or NES, going on to preside over the launches of the SNES, N64 and Gamecube.

Details of Yamauchi's death have not been made public, but Nintendo has confirmed the sad news to Japanese media.

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